06/09/2018 1:06 PM
Bloomington Bobcats (4-5)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (2-7)
June 9, 2018 • 6:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
NWI RHP Christian Howell (Trinity Christian / Aurora, Ill.) vs. Bloomington RHP Ty Rybarczyk (Parkland / Spring Valley, Ill.)
Last year’s Oilmen team that set the franchise record for wins in a single season and tied for first place in the MCL standings did not lose more than two consecutive games all season. It’s been a different story for this year’s squad as the Oilmen already have one five-game skid and will look to avoid a third straight loss on Saturday. The Oilmen have lost back-to-back games despite scoring a double-figure run total on both nights, something that has never happen before in franchise history. In fact, the Oilmen had only five defeats where they scored 10 runs or more in their first six seasons and already have three this year. NWI has allowed seven runs or more in an inning in each of their last five losses, and four of those five frames have been nine-run innings. Remarkably, the Oilmen did not allow a nine-run inning in any of their first six seasons, but now have allowed four in the last week. The Oilmen permitted nine runs or more in an entire game just five times last season.
Inside the Oilmen
It’s not all doom and gloom for the Oilmen, who have seen several bright spots in recent games. Brendan Kelly received no decision in his Oilmen debut, allowing just three runs (two earned) on seven hits and no walks in 5 2/3 innings. The Oilmen had six extra-base hits on Friday, including Nate Montgomery’s second home run of the season, both in the last three games. After going 0-for-6 in the first two games, Montgomery’s bat has come to life. He has his average up to .360. NWI’s Nick Figus is hitting .500, tied with DuPage County’s Matt Verdun for the league lead. Figus, who has multiple hits in four of his seven games, is third in the league in OBP at .647. Chris Baker has drawn 10 walks, which ranks second in the MCL behind DuPage County’s Wyell Woods (11). The Oilmen will throw Christian Howell, who did not allow an earned run (two unearned) over six innings of three-hit ball while striking out seven in his only outing of the season, Opening Night at Crestwood.
Inside the Bobcats
Bloomington will throw incoming Parkland freshman Ty Rybarczyk for his MCL debut on Saturday night. No Bobcat with more than six plate appearances is hitting above .300 this season. Austin Alderman has been the biggest offensive threat with nine hits (two for extra bases, .281 AVG), six RBIs and six runs scored. He leads the team in all of the aforementioned categories. Manager Jake Wegner’s team is also attempting to get back on track after a string of three straight losses, but two of their four wins this season have come against the Oilmen.
About the Matchup
This is the third meeting of the 2018 season between the Oilmen and the Bobcats. These two teams also met in the MCL Playoffs last season. The top-seeded Oilmen fell to fourth-seeded Bloomington in the best-of-three series. The Bobcats won the rubber match by a score of 7-6. That game also gave Bloomington an upper hand in the all-time series. The Bobcats hold an edge over Northwest Indiana, 12-9, in a series that dates back to 2016. Bloomington has won both games between the two teams this season, both of which have occurred in Bloomington.
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